THQ’s Danny Bilson Talks Homefront, Metacritic

In a frank, open interview with VG247, THQ’s Danny Bilson has spoken out about Homefront, and how Metacritic’s weighting and ranking system has affected the game.

“I knew some aspects of the game weren’t 100 percent competitive with the best in class,” he said when asked whether he was disappointed with the way the game panned out (and the eventual closure of developers Kaos), “but there were other places where I thought it was better.”

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[drop2]”As far as the reviews go,” he said, “I have to really say that the reviews were mixed. Metacritic takes all your good reviews and trashes them. That’s what it does. We had 40 reviews over 80 percent: 40 of them. If some heavily-weighted sites trash you, that becomes the whole story.”

Metacritic apparently weights certain outlets and gives their score more authority when calculating the overall percentage metascores.

“Yes, the single-player should have been longer, “continued Bilson, “and we kind of got wind of that too late to affect it. People were banging through it faster than we thought. But it was never really about that as a foremost thing; I was always really big on the multiplayer, which I think is a terrific game, but we had issues in our network code which gave us a very rough launch. That was incredibly disappointing to me.”

“You’ll never see us do a game without a live beta again. No matter what date we have to crush, as long as I’m here we won’t put out an online-centric game without a live beta, so we can work out those bugs in advance.

“I think the network problem was the most severe, because once you have a community rallying around a game and you can’t service them properly, you’re going to lose them fast. You have to repair it faster than we repaired it. You’ll never see a situation like that again at this company.”

Thankfully, it seems like the sequel will fix a lot of the issues. “There’ll be some announcements about Homefront 2 that I think will instill a lot of confidence,” said Bilson.

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14 Comments

  1. Well for once I’m with him, it’s not the reviewers who decide the final Metacritic score, it’s Metacritic. If they are weighting reviews then it makes the entire process biased and utterly useless. Why is CVG’s opinion ‘better’ than IGN or ‘better’ than ours?

    • Agreed – I thought the whole point of Metacritic was to gather all reviews & provide an average of all review scores.

      I understand that they have to ‘create’ a score based upon a review if it doesn’t have one (which i don’t find fair in itself tbh, as some views can be subjective), but i think that they shouldn’t actually score it themselves if the review hasn’t been scored. It isn’t really their place to do so & sometimes they do get it wrong.

      But to weight a review more heavily because the site/mag/whatever is more ‘respected’, then that is just bull.

      If it is biased to some sites more than others & the ‘Metascore’ is in fact based upon that, then they are not providing what they should be & cannot be trusted as an aggregator.

    • Without doubt, weighting should not be used.
      If a site’s reviews seem dodgy, then don’t use them.
      But the vast majority are honest reviews, and they’re all equal.

  2. Glad they are doing a sequel :) Whilst the single player was short and boring (and also infuriating on the highest difficulty!) the multi-player was awesome and still stands as the only online game I have ever reached top rank on :)

  3. Does Gamerankings weigh reviews as well? That’s the site I tend to use. Seems a bit unfair to say any one site’s opinion is worth more than another.

  4. Too right it have network issues but I doubt all it’s faillings lead to the closure of Kaos.
    As for Metacritic, I never use it, there is no point in averaging score without knowing the opinion involved.

    • I don’t use it for the average, but I do use it for the opinions.
      All the reviews are linked, so you could go to Metacritic and read 10 reviews from wildly different sites.
      Quite handy if I’m unsure of a game.

  5. I never take the overall score on metacritic as gospel for this exact reason. I usually just select the game on their site and scroll through the reviews/scores to get a rough idea of its overall quality.

  6. I thought the Single Player was Ok and the main reason for this game was Online Multiplayer?
    Speaking of Multiplayer it seems to be broken and it freezes all the time, I wonder if they are looking into this as the patch that was installed made the game even worse!
    I hope that they can fix it now so that I can enjoy it again once more. I’m glad that Danny will fix these bugs in advance to the Homefront sequeal and I have a feeling that one will go very well. I just hope they can fix our online connection issues ASAP, it’s destroying me!

  7. This game is definitely underrated. It’s no CoD-killer, but they were probably working off a fraction of the budget. It was an interesting premise and different enough that they should be credited for it. The fact that Kaos were closed says bad things for the games industry. I’ve been playing online multiplayer recently (on the 360) and haven’t had any problems with it.

  8. well, looking at the review score listed on metacritic, and averaging them, it comes to 69 point something with loads of digits.

    if me means they select which sites to take score from based on what their score is, well i don’t know about that, but that doesn’t seem to be what he’s saying.
    he’s making it sound like they’re giving lower scoring reviews more a share of the average or something, but it seems like of the score they have got they averaged fairly.
    and the scores they’ve got on there seem to reflect the scores those reviews gave.

    i haven’t done a really exhaustive study but it seems like metacritic haven’t done what he’s suggesting.
    it sounds to me like the game got bad reviews and he’s blaming something other than the game.

    if so many people gave it a bad review, he can’t really say they’re all wrong so he goes after metacritic.

    http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/homefront/critic-reviews

    sour grapes on his part i’d say.

    • if he means, i meant to say.
      bloody clumsy fingers. :(

  9. Personally, I think 70 was a generous score.. I wasn’t impressed at all, felt like a game from 5 years ago. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal opinion, and most opinions I’ve seen online didn’t rate the game either.

  10. Ignoring the review situation I’m happy to see him recognising the problems publicly, as that alone instills a portion of the confidence he’s after.

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